Wintertime Speckled Trout Fishing
Probably the most difficult task in sharing inshore saltwater fishing knowledge for species such as speckled trout and others, is the environment, currents, marshes, flats and topography differ greatly in different states and regions. Hopefully, a few of these things that work for us, can work for you as well.This is the time of year when the texts, pm’s and emails come in enquiring about winter fishing. While here in southeast Georgia we not only get our fair share of cool (cold) weather, we also deal with the largest tides in the entire southeastern United States. These large tides create an extreme amount of current. As a rule I stay away from the portions of the tide that run the hardest.
This will always be one of the most debated topics in the industry. Without getting into semantics and trying to indoctrinate what a fish can see, I keep it fairly simple. That being said, don’t get away from what works for you, go with what you know. Technique is more important. For me, I throw a lot of translucent baits in fairly natural colors, with 1 or 2 exceptions. Most often I’ll have something in a semi-clear grey pattern tied on. It may have a little blue or red sprinkled in, with a dash of glitter. I almost always peg it to an unpainted jig head. The two exceptions are lavender (purple) and chartreuse. If the water is clean and not getting bit, I switch to any shade of purple, dark or light. If the water looks dirty and I’m struggling I’ll switch to variations of green/chartreuse. I may just go with chartreuse tipped to completely chartreuse. Those are desperate times for desperate measures.
As the water gets colder I firmly believe speckled trout and their forage go to deeper protected systems. This can include deep creeks, residential canals, ship basins, docks, stretches of rivers that narrow with high bluffs, buildings or trees and other areas that may have deep, protected and warmer areas. Deep in your particular area could mean as little as 5 feet in up to 20 feet or more. As a rule I like to present the bait WITH the current, not against it. If there is very little current, or none, I don’t think it is as crucial. Over the years I’ve changed presentations to elicit strikes from cold weather speckled trout. I start off fairly aggressive with a sharp twitch with the rod tip down, and pause, and repeat. The bite is almost always on the pause. Next, rod tip down, straight swim, twitch, pause. If I still haven’t been bit, I slow way down, rod tip up, and give it one or two small hops, and pause. (I’m telling you, the bite is almost always on the pause). Lastly, I will slow the presentation down to very small lift and drops, just probing the bottom (with pauses!). I purposely omitted slow trolling or straight swimming because it’s boring. But it does work. One thing that is important is to work your area thoroughly. Work all parts of the water column or structure from front to back and shallow to deep. And pause.
Lately, the amount of weight on the jig head has become a hot topic. I always fish on the bottom, and all jigs go to the bottom if you let them. I use 1/32, 1/16 and 1/8. The biggest complaint I here is that the angler can’t feel anything or doesn’t know if they are in the bottom. Trust the process, let it sink, lighter is better for detecting the bite. The bite is often a mere tick or tap or slightly different feeling.
For any questions or tips on fishing St Simons Island, or questions about a fishing charter, feel free to email us at Capt.firstname.lastname@example.org